Get Your Creative Juices Flowing With Art Ideas for Drawing, Painting, and Beyond

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The possibilities with art are endless. Drawing, painting, sculpture, embroidery—and any combination of them—means infinite opportunities to push yourself to make new things. But with so many choices of medium and technique, where do you even start? If you are finding your choices completely overwhelming, let us help with some art ideas.

While this is not an exhaustive list of creative ideas, we’ve included many of our favorite media from acrylic paint to pencil drawing to embroidery to polymer clay. The media can stand alone as their own art projects, but if you’re feeling adventurous, think about combining two or more of them. Drawing and painting techniques are similar and can easily result in stunning mixed media pieces; don’t be afraid, however, to think outside the box and combine materials in an unconventional way, such as embroidery and polymer clay.

No matter what style of art you choose to venture off to, keep in mind the seven elements of art—the creative building blocks that help unravel and create any type of artwork from drawing and painting to embroidery and sculpting. Line, color, form, shape, value, space, and texture are the seven key elements of art that frequently complement, overlap, inform, and harmonize with one another. Having an understanding of these seven elements can make it easier to create your own works of art, whether it be painting, drawing, sculpture, design, or architecture.

Scroll down for creative art ideas. They are divided by type of art, and for many subjects—particularly drawing and painting—we’ve got even more ideas than listed here.

Get your creative juices flowing with these easy art ideas you can do at home.



Artist Drawing

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When it comes to drawing, the sky's the limit on potential subject matter. Whether you use pencils, pens, or charcoal, they can all help you depict ideas inspired by real life (which is a great way to practice your observation skills) or the imagination.

Ideas inspired by real life include:

  • your favorite houseplant
  • your hands or feet
  • the items on your coffee table
  • your furry friend
  • fruit that’s been cut in half

Fantastical ideas include:

  • imagining life underwater
  • giving an object a face
  • drawing a still life in the Cubist style
  • pop culture characters mash-up

Want more? Here are 75+ drawing ideas to get you sketching right now.



Coming up with painting ideas depends on what kind of paint you’ll be using. Watercolor and acrylic paints are the two most popular types of pigment and each has its own unique qualities. Watercolor paint, for instance, is known for its carefree fluidity while acrylics are known for drying quickly but having a lot of mediums that allow you to manipulate the pigment—like giving it a sculptural element or increasing the flow.



Watercolor Painting

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Take advantage of the paint’s ultra wet qualities with some of these watercolor ideas:

  • watercolor washes that resemble the sky
  • coffee or tea with steam coming off the beverage
  • a bouquet of roses
  • a fire breathing dragon
  • waves crashing on the shore



Painting Supplies

Photo: Stock Photos from Gudea Rares/Shutterstock

We recommend experimenting with acrylic mediums, as they will help you get the most of the paint. With them, try these acrylic painting ideas:

  • still life painting using gel medium
  • a beachy scene using sand texture medium
  • modeling paste to recreate a reptile
  • flow medium for psychedelic swirls

For more general painting ideas, check out our guide of 60+ suggestions that will inspire you to pick up a brush. Another of our favorites? Rock painting!



Many crafts utilize drawing, painting, and other fine art skills, so it’s always a good idea to practice them in order to take your crafting to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a master artist in order to be a great artisan. Learning the proper techniques of your craft will also help you to make your ideas possible—no matter how “out there” they might seem.



Embroidering a Dog

Photo: Stock Photos from Benjavisa Ruangvaree Art /Shutterstock

Embroidery has a variety of stitches that can help bring ideas to life. Use them to execute some of these ideas:

  • a set of house plants
  • a colorful bouquet of blooms
  • a portrait of your favorite animal at the zoo
  • a mountainscape that takes your breath away
  • a recreation of a famous artwork (such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night)

Learn all about embroidery (and get inspired) when you check out our ultimate guide to embroidery.


Polymer Clay

Sculpey and Tools

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So, what is polymer clay? It’s a special type of clay that bakes in your oven, making it easy to craft sculptures in your home. Available in a variety of colors, polymer clay (commonly called Sculpey, although Sculpey is a brand) can also be modeled using conventional ceramic tools and adorned using acrylic paint. Sculpt some of these polymer clay ideas:

  • a portrait of your dog or cat
  • a collection of fantastic fungi
  • a variety of beads (make a necklace afterward)
  • a catch-all dish for your keys
  • a tiny face planter for an air plant
  • a faux marble pair of earrings

Learn all about polymer clay and the tools you’ll need in our handy guide.


Needle Felting

Needle Felting

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Needle felting is one of the cutest crafts around. The basic idea is that you stab wool roving into shapes which in turn become figurines and more. With just a few simple tools, you can create some of these needle felting ideas:

  • a fuzzy sheep
  • potted plants (make the planter using polymer clay)
  • a platter of desserts
  • your favorite cartoon character
  • a creature you'd find in the woods
  • a mini kitchen appliance

Check out our guide to get acquainted with needle felting.


Paper Cutting

Paper Cutting

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Don’t feel like drawing on paper? Cut it out instead! Paper cutting is an age-old craft that is defined by intricate slicing made by X-ACTO knives. You’ll need a steady hand—especially if you intend on only using one sheet of paper. Try some of these ideas to start:

  • a bird with a sweeping wingspan
  • a repeating pattern
  • a leaf shape with small designs within it
  • a scene out of Alice in Wonderland
  • a portrait of a cat (make sure you articulate its fur)
  • a butterfly with an intricate wing pattern

Get paper cutting inspiration by checking out these incredible contemporary artists.


Looking for others who love drawing? Join our Art, Design, Photography, and Drawing Club on Facebook!

This article has been edited and updated.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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